The Bihar elections are around the corner and with the coronavirus pandemic taking a massive toll on people’s lives throughout the country, the challenge of conducting the elections safely is quite big. It is in this context that the Election Commission(EC) is currently working out on the modalities to allow people who have been infected by coronavirus and those who fall above the 65 plus age bracket to vote through the usage of postal ballots. This was confirmed by election commissioner Sushil Chandra is an interview given to The Indian Express.
The report also suffused that the Bihar elections are scheduled for November this year and the EC is ensuring that the fear of the coronavirus infection doesn’t take a toll over the participation of voters. To do this, the EC has decided to reduce the number of voters per polling station from the earlier 1,600 to 1,000. The suspected coronavirus patients will be allowed to cast their votes through postal ballots.
This facility will also be extended to other vulnerable sections of the population such as those above the age of 65 years,
The procedures as to how the postal ballot would be conducted are being worked on at the moment. To put this process into functional mode, a new category of suspect COVID-19 patients or affected persons have been added to the Conduct of Election Rules, 1961 after consulting the Ministry of Law.
Voters who have tested positive for COVID-19 at a government facility or otherwise will be declared eligible for availing postal allot.
Voters who are under home quarantine will also be allowed to take postal ballot. The Election Commission also said that given the present circumstances, political parties are encouraged to rely on virtual rallies for the bulk of the election campaign.